Chef Jose Andres created an organization called World Central Kitchen that goes wherever there is hunger and feeds people. Their mission right now is to serve food and deliver water to the people on the front lines in Ukraine.

I give regularly and will give again.

Here is the letter I recently received from WCK.

Since the invasion of Ukraine began, WCK teams have provided more than 180 million meals to people in need. However, families still need our support as they head into what will likely be the toughest winter of their lives. By fueling our work, you’re helping us bring hope and comfort to communities across Ukraine—and now, a generous WCK donor is matching all gifts up to $10 million made now through December 31 for Ukraine. Make a donation today to double your impact. HELP US CONTINUE OUR EFFORTS IN UKRAINE

Ground report from José in Kherson

On November 11, after eight long months of occupation, the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson was liberated. Having arrived as soon as we were permitted to enter Kherson, WCK local teams were greeted with hugs and tears of joy while delivering food kits. Several days later, José arrived in Ukraine, keeping his promise of returning to Kherson once it was liberated. Below, José shares a ground report from his trip, detailing the growth of our response since WCK first arrived in the newly liberated city.

Yes, WCK has been able to previously support some local restaurants cooking for neighbors in Kherson and safely delivered food kits to frontline communities in the region…we even delivered a generator and fixed the broken water supply for five nearby villages. But no matter how much we wanted to do more, we were unable to reach so many families who were possibly going hungry because of Russia’s brutal occupation. In Kherson, residents lived without basic necessities, cut off from the rest of Ukraine…so many feared for their lives for eight long months. So when Ukraine’s troops entered Kherson on November 11, our WCK team knew we had to be there immediately next to the people, as soon as it was safe to do so.

When I arrived in Kherson on November 16, our WCK team had been delivering food aid each day, working on how we could increase our support every time we returned to the city. What I saw when I first got to Kherson… people celebrating, children were walking the streets with Ukrainian flags, it was a moment I will never be able to describe. But reality sets in as the day goes on and night falls, and people go home without electricity, food, or water. It’s still dangerous too…earlier in the morning a mine left behind exploded inside the train station. Thankfully no one was hurt. During our distribution we also heard shelling as the frontline is not too far away.

Still, when we were doing our food distribution, people remained calm and didn’t mind standing in the rain. I went around and spoke to families who told me they did not have much food at home. This is how WCK meets the needs. We work with the community and everyday we learn and get better.

We travel neighborhood by neighborhood, delivering thousands of food kits to families.

Now we’ve been delivering and have been talking to the people, we’re growing our distributions across different neighborhoods to make sure we reach as many families as we can. For residents with gas and able to cook at home, we’re providing 30lb food kits filled with the majority of Ukrainian products. We are also bringing thousands of plates cooked from our WCK Food Truck in Mykolaiv.

WCK’s Food Truck in Mykolaiv has the capacity to cook up to 5,000 meals. Once the food is prepared, we package it for delivery.

It’s been amazing to see how fast our WCK teams in Ukraine have been able to scale and adapt to the challenges of every situation. With safety systems in place, the Relief Team is moving quickly so people are not gathering or staying outdoors for a long time. Delivery has also been difficult because access to Kherson is still limited, roads are destroyed, and rain has made things very muddy, but WCK keeps going no matter what!

Bringing aid to Kherson is challenging—roads are damaged and rain is causing mud.

There is also no water in Kherson and many people are collecting it directly from the Dnipro river. Filling nine large, 5,000 liter barrels, we delivered and installed water distribution sites throughout the city for residents to drink and cook with. In the next few days, we will install more water sites. WCK now has water distribution sites set up across the city, and we’ll keep expanding.

During my trip I also witnessed a special moment in Ukrainian history—the restoration of trains to and from Kherson. As Ukraine continues to fight for freedom and liberty they are sending a powerful message to the world that they can overcome anything. These are trains of hope, connecting Ukraine again.

Throughout our response, WCK has worked closely with our friends at Ukrainian Railways to transport critical supplies across the country, so we were very proud to stand alongside them during this amazing accomplishment. I rode on the first train to Kherson from Mykolaiv with nearly 200 other people. Some were returning home, some were going to see their relatives, but there were also people who simply decided to be there on this beautiful day. And for WCK, we brought along thousands of food kits with us!

Before I left Ukraine, I took another trainfrom Kherson to Kyiv where I was honored to meet with President Zelenskyy. He presented me with the Order of Merit honor, something that I humbly accepted not for me, but in recognition of the thousands of Ukrainian Food Fighters I get to work with every single day. It is these people who are the heroes behind WCK’s efforts…the people who make the impossible, possible and have been working tirelessly for months under uncertain circumstances to get food to communities in need.

It is why we have been in Ukraine since the very beginning. We know we cannot solve every problem, but the very least WCK can do is make sure that food and water is not another issue people living under attack have to be worried about. We promised the people of Ukraine that as cities become liberated we would be there.

.

So in Kherson, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with WCK teams as they got food and water so fast to families in need, was one of the proudest moments of my life. It is because of WCK Food Fighters and supporters around the world that we are the only large-scale food aid in the city. Together, we will all help Kherson, and other regions around Ukraine, get through the long, hard winter. Thank you for your support and for continuing to believe in our mission.


José AndrésDOUBLE YOUR IMPACT BY DONATING TO WCK TODAYCopyright © 2022 World Central Kitchen, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

World Central Kitchen

200 Massachusetts Ave NW 7th Floor

Washington, DC 20001